Ishikawa’s Must-See Fall Spots

The fall scenery at Natadera Temple in Komatsu.

Fall is here and Japan – never wanting to miss an opportunity to admire nature – is getting ready for the changing of the leaves. Going to a great 紅葉 spot is THE fall outing. So grab some friends, get a car (most of these locations are only accessible via car), make sure your camera has a fully charged battery and get to admiring those leaves.

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How to Donate Goods in Ishikawa

Many thanks to our crack team of JETs who have been working tirelessly to get this information out: Julia Caffrey, ALT; Sophie Bocklandt, CIR; Megan Lam, AJET Charity Rep & ALT; and Bill Smith, PA. 誠にありがとうございます!

Below is a list of locations accepting donations of goods; includes restrictions and maps.
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Daishoji Hanami, April 9-10

Hard to imagine amidst all that is going on right now, but hanami season is just around the corner.  Here is some info about a cherry blossom festival near Kaga provided by our pink PA, Anna:

Daishoji Hanami

Daishoji Hanami Matsuri

Daishoji Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in Kaga on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April. As well as relaxing under some beautiful cherry blossoms, this small-town celebration offers portable shrine processions, Lion’s Head dances, boat trips down Daishoji river and all the usual festival stalls and food.

All activities are within walking distance of Daishoji station (approx. 1 hour from Kanazawa station, Y820). From the station walk straight down to the main road, turn left at Lawson’s and follow the 305 until you arrive at the river.

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Daishoji Star Festival and Ushitsu Buri Festival

Don’t let the winter doldrums get you down! On the weekend of Jan. 15-16, there are two winter festivals to check out. Watch priests perform a cold water ritual in the south or eat Ishikawa yellowtail in the north!

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Yes You CAN Bus

(It’s a horrible title, but it had to be done. Sorry.)

The Kaga area of Ishikawa is famous for its pottery, sake, hot springs, and quirky attractions. If you have a day off in the middle of the week, a sudden daikyuu, or are looking for something new on the weekends, the following places in Kaga are conveniently connected through the CAN Bus:
Natadera
Yamanaka Onsen
-Kaga Fruit Land
Yunokuni Mori Onsen
-Tsukino Usagi no Sato, a bunny park(月のうさぎの里)
-Dainichizakari Sake Cellar
-Katayamazu Onsen
– The World Glass Museum
– Korogi Bridge (that super-famous bridge with the nice fall colors)

The CAN Bus has two main loops, both starting at the Kaga Onsen station. The 海まわり (coastal loop) 山まわり (mountain loop) go in opposite directions. The fare is 1000円 for a day pass for an adult, which seems steep compared to bus fare in Kanazawa, but keep in mind that these attractions are fairly far flung. Also, you can buy a 1200円 two day pass for getting to an onsen/ryokan and back.

The Canbus Route

The Day Pass can be purchased at the JR Kaga Onsen station. One simply shows the day pass as one exits the bus at the destination. The Mountain Route runs half hourly in the mornings from 9 to 11, then hourly over the lunch hour, and hourly until 17:30 with a cluster of buses departing every 10 minutes during the 14:00 hour. This route will take you to Natadera, Yunokuni, Yamanaka Onsen, and Korogi. The Coastal Route will get you to Fruit Land, the bunnies, the sake distillery, and Katayamazu Onsen. It runs once an hour and varying intervals, just to be contrary.

The CAN Bus English Guide can be found at:
http://www.kaga-can-bus.com/

Schedules can be found at:

Click to access co210107new%5B1%5D.pdf

Posted by Lauren, who doesn’t have a car.

Summer Festival Season: August 26-29

This post concludes the Ishikawa JET Blog Summer Festival Series. Thanks for reading!

1. Watermelon Festival 西瓜祭り, Komatsu; Aug. 26-28
2. Bullhead-Fry Festival ぐず焼き祭り, Kaga; Aug. 27-29
3. Café Lowell カフェ・ローエル, Anamizu; Aug. 28
4. Fukuura Festival 福浦祭り, Shika; Aug. 28
5. Niwaka Festival にわか祭, Noto; Aug. 28
6. Togi Hassaku Festival 富来八朔祭り, Togi; Aug. 28-29

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Summer Festival Season: August 16-22

We’re in the home stretch of summer festival season!

1.Kanakura Illumination Event 金蔵万燈会, Wajima; Aug. 16

2.Sosogi Grand Festival曽々木大祭; Wajima; Aug. 17

3.Katayamazu Onsen Hot Water Festival 片山津温泉湯のまつり, Kaga Onsen; Aug. 20-22

4.Kabuto-hiki-fune Festival 甲曳き舟祭り; Anamizu; Aug. 21

5.Sakami Festival 酒見祭; Shika; Aug. 21

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Hanibe Caves

Tucked into the hills of Komatsu about a 20-minute drive from Komatsu Station are the Hanibe Caves ハニベ岩窟, famous for their many Buddhist statues and the parody of hell.

Entrance to Hanibe

There are no information pamphlets in English, but you will receive a map of the suggested route upon entry. A giant statue of the Buddha’s head and shoulders marks the entry, as, as my partner noted, looks like it might open its eyes, rise up out of the ground, and stomp off to fight with Godzilla.

There are statues and shrines on the way up the hill to the caves. Inside the first cave, make a wish by buying a ceramic piece, writing your wish on it, and throwing it into (or near) a ceramic basin.

Make a wish!

The first section of the caves features Buddhist art from India–statues of various saints, depictions of the Buddha’s childhood–and a host of statues in flagrante delicto. A stone Kama Sutra, if you will.

The parody of Hell is much less fun than the imported statues from India, but, in being a parody, is still pretty entertaining in a grotesque way. There are statues depicted (Buddhist) punishment for various sins, and at the end, more saints to redeem you. Afterward, if your legs are strong enough and it’s not raining, climb the path to the garden on top of the hill, where Shakamuni Buddha reclines.

Jaws theme

My impressions of the place were mixed. While I enjoyed seeing “heaven” and the natural beauty of the place, the abandoned atmosphere gave me the heebie-jeebies. However, if you have an interest in Buddhist art, Hanibe Caves makes for an interesting afternoon.

Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and landed her wish right in the middle of the box.

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